Otis and the Geese

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Children's Books, Grandmother, Growing UP, Memories, Relationships | Posted on 14-12-2016

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My grandmother used to read me the story of Angus and the Ducks. Angus, the curious Scottish Terrier, got into mischief. One day, he was off-leash and ventured on the other side of the hedge, encountering two ducks. They stared him down and proceeded to hissssss at poor Angus. This hissing scared the crap out of Angus and he ran back to the safety of underneath the sofa in his living room. He never ventured to the other side of the hedge again.

The thing was, my grandmother made the most amazing hisssssssing noise when she read that part. During my childhood, I made her read that page over and over. We both would get the giggles.

Fast forward 30 + years.

While on a run, Otis, the curious Yellow Labrador, and I encountered two hundred Canadian Snow Geese. We stopped for a moment to take it all in, with Otis nearly ripping my arm off. He was raring to go get into mischief.

The pause in our run made me reflect upon the wondrous moments reading about Angus with my grandmother. When I visited her–even until I was pushing 16–we would snuggle up to read Angus and the Ducks and we would giggle at the hisssssss. Every time.

I have read that book over and over to my children. But it never had the same effect.

I guess some things are best kept tucked away in the memory vault. Best kept as my own magical moments.

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Highway Robbery

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Children, Fun, Memories, Mothering, Mothers and Sons | Posted on 12-10-2016

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On a whim, my son and I robbed a bank.

I donned my saloon-dancer dress, put on my feather boa, and grabbed my gun. My son put on his best pinstripe suit, his newsboy cap, and grabbed his gun. His Tommy gun.

We grabbed bagfuls of cash and sped away.

To think I almost passed on doing an “old time photo.” With a price of $19.95, I was like, no way, that’s highway robbery!

It took a little convincing from Clyde.

I will never forget that highway robbery…the fun of getting into character, selecting the perfect gun, and striking a pose. It was the perfect mother-son adventure. And we each have a photo in our room to remember that historic moment.

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Full of Pep

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Attitude, Confidence, Encouragement, Kindness, Life, Little Story, School, Teaching | Posted on 20-04-2016

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When I was in seventh grade, our teacher gave us a fun assignment. We were to write our names on a piece of paper then pass it around the classroom. Each student was to anonymously write something nice about each person: a trait, a compliment, what you like about that person. As the papers circulated, kindness filled the pages.

It was a great exercise to express the good in everyone and boost confidence. I still remember one phrase written about me:

Full of pep.

pep: noun energy and high spirits; liveliness.

I ran across this picture of me when I was in the seventh grade. Curly hair in braids, a big smile, heart-shaped sunglasses perched on my head. This was taken on our seventh grade camping trip in Yosemite. The same trip where I dared the boys to see who could stand in the freezing-cold river the longest. (Full of grit!)

The girl in the forefront is the one who wrote “full of pep.” (After we got our papers returned, she had leaned across her desk and whispered to me I wrote that. I still remember beaming back.)

Those three words written oh-so-long-ago had an impact on me and still make me smile. I will always remember my friend’s kindness and friendship…and…her accurate assessment. Wink!

Thirty four years later and still full of pep, I now have a daughter in the seventh grade. I showed her this picture and she was like, “Mom, are look the same!”

Some things never change.

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Scratchy Balls

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Art, Attitude, Memories, Mothers and Sons | Posted on 04-03-2016

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It was a day filled with cupcakes, masks, and scratchy balls.

My ten-year-old son and I adventured to the city, just the two of us. We stumbled upon a necklace in one of the shops: a colorful necklace made from scratchy wool balls. How could I say no?

Mom, you would look so pretty in this. Seriously, how could I resist?

Since then, I’ve been wearing that necklace often. It keeps my neck warm. It goes with everything. People compliment it wherever I go. Wow, cool necklace! But mostly, I smile because it reminds me of that colorful day spent with my sweet son.

My new necklace.

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A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

The Box of Memories

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Grandmother, Growing UP, Happiness, Life, Memories, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 15-07-2015

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When my grandmother and I used to play the game Memory, there was always more talking and laughing than matching. We played every time I would visit. We’d get out the tattered box of Memory cards, flipped them over and start grinning. As each card was flipped, a picture rich in memories would appear.

The tiger with the eyes that resemble peas.

The girl in the blue dress, with the braids flying.

The long white rabbit.

The mother and baby owls perched.

The king with the big belly and short legs.

The triangle “quilt.”

The lion cub peeking from the striped awning.

The lion with the hairy mane and sad face.

And of course, sly fox.

When my grandmother died, I packed up the “box of memories” and took them with me. Decades later, the box itself disintegrated but the cards were intact and full of life…and memories. They cards now reside in a Ziploc bag on the game shelf and have been resurrected! My daughter and I play regularly. And we talk and laugh and have our favorite cards…

The tiger with the eyes that resemble peas.

The girl in the blue dress, with the braids flying.

The long white rabbit.

And so on.

As we play, I am filled with happiness that my grandmother’s hands touched these exact cards and laughed at the same king with the big belly and short legs.

I guess you’d say, the memories are alive and well.

Marigolds and Counting Cars

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Grandmother, Life, Love, Memories | Posted on 04-06-2015

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One car. Two cars. Red cars. Blue cars.

When I was a girl, my grandmother and I played a game. We sat side by side on the grass in the shade and stared out at the highway to count cars.

My grandmother lived outside of the town limits. Alongside a country highway. Where you could hear the train’s whistle blow. Catch a whiff of a skunk at the wood’s edge. And where you were surrounded by an abundance of marigolds, which my grandmother tended with love and care with her green plastic watering can and expert dead-heading skills.

When I visited, she let me care for the marigolds. And when we needed a break, we counted cars. I picked blue. She picked black. Then we’d count. Whoever picked the most colors won.

Sometimes I picked red and she picked blue. Your odds were best if you picked black, blue, and red. Trust me.

Time stood still for us, as the cars whizzed by.

After all these years, whenever I see marigolds and smell their tomato aroma, I am reminded of my grandmother and the sweet, simple times we spent together.

Marigolds remind me of my grandmother.

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The Carpet of Many Colors

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Easter, Holidays, Memories, Traditions, Travel | Posted on 03-04-2015

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My mother and I once traveled to Antigua, Guatemala to take in all of the ceremony, spiritualness, history, and beauty of Easter Holy Week, or Semana Santa.

For me, that trip was life changing.

We witnessed the making of alfombras, “carpets” made from tiny flower petals placed in the streets. These ornate, detailed carpets were found throughout the streets of this historical town, readied for throngs of processions of the devout. Hundreds of purple-robed men would carry a statue of Jesus on the cross, high above their heads, with marching bands playing mournful music. More information about Semana Santa in Guatemela can be found here.

That was the most colorful and powerful Easter I have ever spent. Although we took this trip 25 years ago, the memories are still as vibrant as the amazing alfombras.

Today, I reflect on that holy trip and how I am so thankful for my mother and her continuous support, love, and teachings.

Happy Easter.

alfombraPhoto by Marina K. Villatoro.

 

 

Wind Pie

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Baking, Memories | Posted on 04-12-2014

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The winds blew in. Crazy winds. The kind of wind that scatters the leaves into crescent formations at the sidewalk’s edge. The kind of wind that makes your cheeks turn pink. The kind of wind that blows the last of the November apples off the trees.

On our way home, we noticed hundreds of unclaimed apples, newly blown onto the grass. So of course, we pulled over to gather them up. My daughter and I made baskets out of our shirts, where we weighted them down with apples.

My nine-year-old ran willy-nilly. Because. The. Wind.

That afternoon, we washed, peeled, chopped, sugared, spiced, and cooked the apples. Then, we mixed, rolled, and flattened a pie crust. After an hour of preparation, into the oven it baked.

We called it: Wind Pie.

And despite the apples being too mushy and the crust too wheaty, the memory-making was delicious!

Apple pie made with love and whole wheat flour…good intentions but the crust was awful.

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My Uncle Was Willy Wonka

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Memories | Posted on 22-07-2014

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Once I was Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And my uncle was Willy Wonka. Kinda.

My uncle drove a candy delivery truck and one day, he invited me along on his route. Riding shotgun in a candy truck! I had scored the golden ticket!

From dawn until dusk, the sweet smells of chocolate, bubble gum, licorice, gumdrops, nougat, caramel, and nuts filled the air. And my tummy.

We drove through country roads and stopped at general stores, gas stations, markets, and coffee shops to stock them with gum, candy, and chips. Everyone greeted my uncle with a smile. Because he was so friendly. And. How. Can. You. Resist. The. Candy. Man. And his sidekick.

Eating. Laughing. Exploring. Then, oh-so-sick at the end of the day.

It was one of the sweetest days of my childhood. 🙂

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Grass Seeds

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Memories, Nature | Posted on 26-06-2014

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Ah, childhood.

There’s nothing quite like the simple pleasure of pulling off grass seeds from a tall blade of grass and spreading them in the wind. The softness of the miniature seeds in your hand. And the power of reseeding. To make future grass grow.

Spreading. Reseeding. Growing.

It’s cyclical. Just like childhood to adulthood and then back to childhood.

The other day, my son and I spent some time pulling grass. It was a simple pleasure. It brought me back to my childhood and made me smile.

Reseeding.

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Grass.

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